Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period

We are fortunate to have another guest post from Medicare expert, Danielle Kunkle, who has provided us with a clear and detailed explanation of the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period.  This is timely information, because we are currently in the middle of open enrollment.   It is important for seniors to understand they are not limited to the open enrollment period if they are signing up for Medicare for the first time.  You are also not affected if you have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan.  However, if you are unhappy with your current Medicare Advantage or drug plan, the information below will be useful.

Medicare Open Enrollment

The Medicare Open Enrollment period each fall is a time when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare Advantage plans and Part D drug plans.  This annual enrollment period runs from October 15 to December 7.

Beneficiaries will receive an Annual Notice of Change letter from their current insurance company in September.  This letter will outline all the changes to the plan for the following year.   It is common for the plan's monthly premiums or co-pays to change.  Pay close attention, as well, to see if any of your medications are being added or dropped from the plan's formulary.

If you are unhappy with the changes which are being made to your current plan, the fall open enrollment period is the time to look for new coverage.  We recommend you visit Medicare.gov to use their Plan Finder Tool.  You will enter your zip code, your medications and your preferred pharmacies.  Then, this handy tool will crunch the numbers and tell you exactly which plans for next year will offer you the lowest possible out-of-pocket spending.

It's important to note that the Open Enrollment Period in the fall only applies to drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans.  It does not affect your Medicare Supplement (Medigap plan).  Unlike drug plans and Advantage plans, your Medigap plan does not change its benefits from year to year.

You can actually change your Medigap plan at any time of year, though in most states it will require you to answer health questions and go through medical underwriting to do so.

The graphic along the sidebar will help you understand the Medicare Open Enrollment period.


About the author:

Danielle Kunkle is the co-founder of Boomer Benefits, an insurance agency specializing in Medicare-related insurance products.  They help baby boomers new to Medicare learn about their benefits and coverage options across 47 states.

If you are interested in learning more about Medicare, Social Security, financial planning, where to retire, common medical issues and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

Watch for my book, Retirement Awareness: 10 Steps to a Comfortable Retirement, which is being published by Griffin Publishing early in 2018.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  Google Images

Infographic credit:  Danielle Kunkle

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